Florida’s shooting goes cold in road loss to Georgia

Georgia guard Jordan Harris (2) goes up for a shot as Florida guards Jalen Hudson (3) and KeVaughn Allen (5) defend in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018, in Athens, Ga. Georgia won 72-60. (AP Photo/John Bazemore) GAJB108
Georgia guard Jordan Harris (2) goes up for a shot as Florida guards Jalen Hudson (3) and KeVaughn Allen (5) defend in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018, in Athens, Ga. Georgia won 72-60. (AP Photo/John Bazemore) GAJB108
Published January 30
Updated January 30

ATHENS, Ga. — The repeated misses were bad for No. 23 Florida.

The failure to rebound them made the offensive struggles even more painful.

Yante Maten scored 20 and Georgia recovered after blowing a halftime lead to beat the Gators 72-60 on Tuesday night.

Florida’s 36.5 percent shooting from the field was its second worst in an SEC game this season.

"It seemed like there was a lid on the basket for us at times," Florida coach Mike White said.

The lid was Georgia’s defense, which leads the SEC by allowing 38.7 percent shooting.

Florida (15-7, 6-3) began the night in second place in the SEC, one game behind No. 11 Auburn.

Georgia (13-8, 4-5) had lost three straight and five of six, and players felt the pressure of fading NCAA Tournament hopes.

"Today everybody came with the spirit because we wanted it so bad to turn the season around," Tyree Crump said.

NO. 6 XAVIER 73, ST. JOHN’S 68: Trevon Bluiett had 14 points and hit two free throws to break a tie with 1:04 left, leading the visiting Musketeers (20-3, 8-2 Big East) to their fifth straight win.

MIAMI: Sophomore guard Bruce Brown is expected to be sidelined for about six weeks because of a left foot injury that will require surgery, the team said.

NORTH CAROLINA: Freshman guard Jalek Felton has been suspended from school. He isn’t facing criminal charges and doesn’t have a pending case listed in an online search of state court records, but he is being represented by two attorneys.

Big 12 has no plans to expand

The Florida lawmaker who recently lobbied to the Big 12 on behalf of USF and UCF has received a response from that league’s commissioner.

The gist of its message: Thanks, but no thanks.

In a letter dated Jan. 26, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby informed Rep. Robert "Bobby" Olszewski the league currently has no plans to expand. Olszewski, who attended both USF and UCF, recently sent a letter to Bowlsby urging the Big 12 to strongly consider the Bulls and Knights if/when the league expands.

"Thank you for taking the time to contact me," Bowlsby’s letter says. "However, I do not foresee a scenario in which expansion would again become an active agenda item for our Board of Directors in the near future.

In his letter to Bowlsby, Olszewski — who worked in radio for USF Athletics while attending the school — pointed out the highly successful seasons recorded by both the Knights (13-0) and Bulls (10-2), and alluded to the glowing ratings generated by their nationally-televised Black Friday contest (a 49-42 UCF triumph).

The Big 12 pondered expansion in 2016, and even vetted 11 finalists, before opting to remain a 10-team outfit. Its current TV contract, which distributes roughly $20 million annually to each of its member institutions, expires in 2025. Whether expansion again is considered before then is unclear.

"I can appreciate your pride for the University of Central Florida and in the University of South Florida," Bowlsby’s letter says, "not only as an alumnus of both institutions, but also on the heels of tremendously successful football seasons for the Knights and Bulls."

Times staff writer Joey Knight contributed to this report.

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